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Community Grapevine

Bringing environmental educational to television

Kudos to Štefan Lajoš and Pat Hadnagy, who have just finished the first stage of their project - an environmental film that will be distributed throughout the Slovak school system and broadcast on STV.

The film focuses on Martin, an average Slovak student who learns what he and his family can do to help the environment in their daily lives, from turning off lights to picking up trash.

"This is our attempt to make people aware of what they can do to help the environment, rather than just pointing the finger at big companies," Lajoš said during a break in filming on the banks of the Little Danube in the Slovak capital. The film has been deemed an educational tool by the Ministry of Education and will be broadcast on STV. Because it is a national project (the first of its kind) it will reach about 600,000 students between the ages of six and 14.

Thanks to sponsors like the Honeywell Foundation and JMB Production, a Slovak movie production company, Hadnagy and Lajoš - who put in about 100,000 Sk each from their own pockets - raised 2.1 million Sk for the project. But they're still looking for help to cover the last ten percent.

"It's been a very long eight months," laughed Hadnagy, an American who has made his home in Bratislava to direct the film. After post-production, they hope to take a break; but then the dynamic duo wants to adapt it to nearby countries - turning their national project into a regional one.

Attention networkers: the American Chamber of Commerce will hold its October business cocktail in Košice, on Thursday, October 26. This is only the second time that the meeting will be outside of Bratislava; the first was in Banská Bystrica this May. For more information, call 095/622-2698.

Thomas Baťa, the Czech-Canadian shoe king and philanthropist, was on hand in Banská Bystrica October 13 for the opening of Baťa Junior Achievement's second regional office in Slovakia. The office at Lazovná 21 is staffed by Katarina Jablonská, the regional coordinator, and Dianne Schultz, an advisor and Peace Corps volunteer. One of the new initiatives organized by the office is "C.E.O.: Conversation-English Only," an opportunity for businesspeople to make contacts and discuss current business issues. The group meets from 17:30 to 19:00 on the third Thursday of every month at Fontána Restaurant, Nám. SNP 18. For more information, call 088/240-22.

The Slovak Association of Teachers of English gathered at a 15th century castle in the tiny village of Tonkovce, about 25 kilometers east of Bratislava, to discuss "ELT in Slovakia - Present and Future." About 50 educators from across Slovakia gathered for the annual conference between October 20 and 22 to discuss strategies and meet with publishers. For information on the organization, call Gabriela Dorňáková at 07/496-800.

A call for sponsors: the Secondary School Scholarship Program is looking for people to help send Slovak high school students to the United States or Great Britain for one year. Can you help? Call Mitchell Rezník at 07/580-2112.

The International Women's Club of Bratislava has two charity events coming soon: The Art Auction is Sunday, November 4, and the Christmas Bazaar is Saturday, November 18. For more information, call 07/537-1247. There is now a regular English-speaking Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Bratislava. All are welcome to the meetings on Mondays at 20:30 at the YMCA on Karpatská ulica 2, room 142.

Folks in Bratislava may have experienced more than the usual frustration with the phone system as lines are replaced and given new numbers. Here's the tip of the week: If you can't get through to a six digit number, try adding a 5 to the beginning. This especially seems to be the case with phone numbers that start with the number 3. Thus, USAID's number becomes 5330-667, but other entities' numbers, such as the U.S. Embassy or Deloitte & Touche, remain the same. What the pattern is here...well, that's anyone's guess.

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